Abstract and Keywords
The main characteristics of dictionaries for general users are identified and described. The history and development of this genre of dictionary is summarized and analysed. Current issues are identified. The nature of ‘historical principles’ is examined, and the impact that relatively small changes in focus can have (even in subsequent editions of the same dictionary) within an approach that remains anchored in a historical perspective. The contribution of key figures in the development of these principles is investigated, especially the nineteenth-century contributions of John Jamieson, Franz Passow, Henry Liddell, Robert Scott, R. C. Trench, James Murray, and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Current issues are examined, including the impact of online publication, the explosion in resources available for investigating many historical periods, and the increasing awareness among historical lexicographers of the ongoing patterns of influence which semantically (and often also etymologically) related words in different languages exert upon one another.
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